Hurricane Arthur Threatens Serious Coastal Flooding

By Tom Yulsman | July 3, 2014 2:52 pm
Expected flooding from storm surges is seen in this experimental map from the National Hurricane Center.

Expected flooding from storm surges pushed up by Hurricane Arthur in coastal North Carolina and parts of Virginia is seen in this experimental map from the National Hurricane Center.

As I write this at 3:30 EDT, Hurricane Arthur’s maximum sustained winds are pegged at 90 miles per hour, and conditions are already deteriorating along the North Carolina coast. The storm has accelerated and is intensifying, according to the National Hurricane Center.

It is expected to reach Category 2 strength when it passes over or near the coast of  North Carolina. That means winds of 95 to 100 miles per hour for the Cape Hatteras area at about 8 a.m. tomorrow.

There is also a possibility that Arthur could strengthen to Category 3 status, but the odds are relatively small.

No matter what, this hurricane poses very significant flooding risks for coastal areas, as the experimental map above from the National Hurricane Center shows. It is quite possible that flooding from the storm could cause North Carolina’s Outer Banks to become cut off from the mainland.

To check the flooding risk for other parts of the East Coast, click here.

Flooding will be the result of storm surges Hurricane Arthur’s winds push up. Often, the greatest risks to life and to property comes from storm surge. Here is a map showing what to expect from the Carolinas up into Virginia and Delaware:

The probable height in feet above the ground of storm surges expected from Hurricane Arthur. Flooding potential is based on these forecasts. (Source: National Weather Service)

The probable height (in feet above the ground) of storm surges expected from Hurricane Arthur, from South Carolina up to Virginia and Delaware. The flooding potential is based on these forecasts. (Source: National Weather Service)

As Hurricane Arthur continues to move up the Eastern Seaboard, significant storm surges can be expected farther north too. For an interactive map of predicted storm surges from Arthur, click here.

Bottom line: This is a serious storm. No one should be taking it lightly.

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ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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